17 Aug Preseason Scouting Notes: Noah Gray, TE, Duke
Senior | 6’4” 240 lbs | Leominster, MA | Mar. 30, 1999
A move TE who can stretch the field with good play speed and solid route running who needs to improve his play strength
Noah Gray came to Duke as a 3-star prospect and former high school basketball player. In 2019, he led all tight ends in the ACC with 51 receptions, which ranked second in the Power 5. From 11 personnel, Gray saw action primarily from the slot in Duke’s quick passing offense, attacking the short and intermediate levels of the field in the passing game. In the run game, he blocked from the wing and fullback positions, lining up at the play side and backside of plays on sweeps, inside zone and power.
– Reliable hands and concentration. Comes up clutch on critical downs
– Shows good block temperament for the position. High-level effort
– Displays adequate speed to stretch the field and shows good quickness in and out of his breaks
– Takes good angles on screen blocks. Able to get to his assignment and wall them off
– Releases quickly off the snap when uncovered
– Solid route runner. Attacks his defender’s leverage and is able to win on his release with stutter moves and head/shoulder fakes before his break
– Understands when to settle between or underneath zone defenders. Able to locate open areas on seams
Areas to improve:
– Takes poor angles on split zone and lead blocks. Needs to aim more inside on his target
– Overall play strength is a problem on run blocks or when facing physical defenders in coverage
– Doesn’t generate push to widen the hole as a run blocker. Only stalemates or loses battles
– His hand usage and balance on blocks needs to improve
– Body catches at times and doesn’t meet the ball with hands in contested situations
– Easily gets knocked down on first contact as a ball carrier. Lacks evasiveness and power to avoid tackles or generate extra yards after catch
– Jump ball ability was quite untested for a tight end
Gray projects as a No. 2 receiving tight end due to his intellect vs zone, reliable hands and solid route running ability. Aside from the slot, he could also run routes from the wing and fullback spots if an offensive coordinator wanted to get creative and give him some touches off of play action or if he had a favorable match-up. He can be used as a blocker in the run only if a defensive back was his assignment, as Gray wasn’t dominating linebackers from the ACC and other lower level schools in the run game. He will likely be a mid-to-late Day 3 selection, starting out as third tight end contributing in special teams until he gets strong enough to handle high-level competition.
What to watch in 2020:
Gray could be the premier target this season for quarterback transfer Chase Brice, coming over from Clemson this past February. The experience alone that Brice brings will be beneficial in a statistic perspective for the senior tight end to make more plays, as there were more yards that could have been had in 2019 if not due to inconsistent QB play. If Gray shows improvement on his blocking alone, technique wise and gain more strength, he could climb another round or two. He would also need to be consistent with his catching technique and further develop his skills as a route runner. It would be helpful to get an understanding on his ability to handle physical defenders on his release and on his stem.
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From El Paso, Texas where most of time is spent reading, swimming, and watching basketball and football games.
Entering 3rd year with Pro Football Focus, helping out with various processes.
Enjoys scribbling notes on NFL and College players, with the intent to hopefully work for an NFL team.